New England D3 Football: What Teams To Watch In 2017?

NOONTIME FB 2017 EARLY PREDICT

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

Sure, football season seems like a ways off, especially with next weekend being Memorial Day Weekend.

Yet, before we know it, another season of New England D3 Football will be back!

As promised – I mentioned it a few times on Twitter this week – below are the teams I will be watching this upcoming season in all five conferences.

Let me know what you think – do you agree or disagree? If so, send me a tweet or email to NoontimeSports@gmail.com. And make sure to follow us on Twitter (@NoontimeSports) and Facebook!

Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC): Western New England will once again be the favorite, but who challenges the Golden Bears? Three teams: EndicottNichols and Salve Regina. One other team to keep an eye on is Curry College.

Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC)Husson University will be the ‘team-to-beat or watch this fall, however, who challenges the Eagles? My thoughts: Castleton State and SUNY Maritime. One other team to watch would be Dean College.

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC): Bridgewater State should be the favorite, especially after rebounding from a slow start. Yet, who challenges the Bears for the conference crown? My thoughts: Fitchburg StateFramingham StatePlymouth State and UMass Dartmouth.

New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)This conference produced an exciting final few weeks of football. And now that every team will play each other, it should be interesting to see what squad can take down the favorite, which is Trinity College. And while the Bantams maybe the favorite, don’t overlook the following: Tufts UniversityMiddlebury College and Wesleyan College. One other team that could contend for the crown is Amherst College, which concluded its season with a convincing win over an up-and-coming Williams College squad.

New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC): Springfield College has to be the favorite heading into a brand new league, but keep an eye on WPI and Norwich University. All three should be in the mix for the inaugural NEWMAC title, but don’t overlook Merchant Marine Academy.

Noonan: The Celtics Exceeded Expectations, But Are On The Path To Contend For ‘Banner No. 18’

NBA: Boston Celtics at Detroit Pistons

Isaiah Thomas and the Boston Celtics are close to becoming title contenders for the next few seasons. (PHOTO CREDIT: CSNNE.com)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

As we all know, the Boston Celtics overachieved this season, taking that ‘so-called’ next-step with an impressive Game 7 win earlier this week against the Washington Wizards to secure a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Players like Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Avery Bradley and yes, Kelly Olynyk, have made impressive contributions for the Green and White over the past few weeks.

However, we all know this crew is not ready to contend with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Instead, we, the Celtics fans, have witnessed another brick being added to the foundation. Danny Ainge’s process is slowly coming to fruition, which means the Green and White are inching closer to their ultimate goal of ‘banner number 18.’

It will come, I promise, but it won’t be this season. Maybe it will be next season or the year after, but the Celtics, who certainly exceeded expectations this spring, have proven they deserve a spot at the ‘big boys’ table with Cleveland, Golden State and San Antonio.

And while the outcome of this current series certainly favors the Cavaliers – yes, Cleveland dominated the opening game last night, downing the Celtics, 117-104 – Boston must at-least show some fight to keep the excitement on Causeway Street going into next season.

What the Celtics do following the Cleveland series is an unknown. Yes, there have been speculation, thoughts, tweets and opinions about the Green and White dealing their number one pick or perhaps luring Paul George or Gordon Hayward to Boston, but nothing is official.

If I were Danny Ainge, I would consider trading the top pick or perhaps selecting Markelle Fultz (Washington) or Lonzo Ball (UCLA). I would also be open to welcoming drafting Josh Johnson (Kansas) or Jayson Tatum (Duke) to Boston, too.

For now, just like many of you, I am going to enjoy this current run by the C’s. Yes, it maybe painful at time – who doesn’t want to see Thomas and his teammates defeat ‘The King’ and last year’s champions, but in the back of my mind – like many – I know this is just the beginning of what should be an exciting few years of Celtics basketball.

The future is promising, Green and White fans, so enjoy the remainder of the series and get set for what should be an exciting offseason.

Noontime Sports Celebrates Eight Years Of Blogging!

By NoontimeSports.com

So today is an important date in American History … in fact, it is an important date in blogging history, too.

On this exact date in 2009, Noontime Sports was founded and started. And in honor eight years of blogging about professional, college, high school and amateur sports, Matt Noonan, who is the editor and founder, shared a special thank you to you (the friends, followers and fans) of our site.

As always, make sure to stay connected with Noontime Sports on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube!

Lasell College Makes History, Wins First-Ever GNAC Crown With 13-12 Win Over Mount Ida

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The Lasell College men’s lacrosse team captured its first-ever Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) crown on Saturday with a 13-12 win over Mount Ida College. (PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Noonan/Noontime Sports)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

NEWTON, Mass. – For the first-time in program history, the Lasell College men’s lacrosse team captured the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) men’s lacrosse championship with a 13-12 victory over Mount Ida College on Saturday afternoon at Grellier Field.

The Lasers (13-3), who entered this year’s tournament as the top team in the GNAC, secured its first-ever crown with a pair of impressive postseason victories, including a come-from-behind win earlier this week against Norwich University, which propelled the Blue and White into this afternoon’s title round.

“Our focus (all season) was to get here, but we (took it) one-step at a time and we didn’t focus on this moment, but instead the process to get here and it paid off,” said Lasell men’s lacrosse coach Bill Mason, who is in his second season with the Lasers.

“We just kept telling the guys to keep things small and stick to the level of our training, and I am so proud of them (that) they were able to do it.”

Lasell, which will be making its first-ever appearance in the upcoming NCAA Division III Tournament next week, received a big boost from senior Michael Susi, who concluded the contest with four goals, including a pair in the final frame.

“(Mike) has worked so hard all year and he’s got iced-cold veins to take some of those shots (that he did),” said Mason.

Susi’s third goal, an early fourth quarter strike, jumpstarted a three-goal run for the Lasers, which helped the hosts secure the lead for good  – the team’s third goal provided Lasell with a 12-9 advantage.

Mount Ida (14-5) trimmed the deficit not once, but twice, and came close to netting the equalizer in the final minute. However, Lasell’s defense, along with senior goaltender Jorge Salazar, closed the door on a possible Mustangs comeback, which could have sent the contest to overtime.

In addition to Susi, Lasell received multiple offensive contributions from senior Josh Gallant (two goals and two assists), junior Austin Tomasetti (two goals and two assists) and sophomore Ryan Madden (three goals), who was tabbed the conference tournament’s most valuable player.

“We got this win as a team and we could not be more happy about it,” said Madden. “To win this, all that work from last year and that work from this year, and we were able to take the ‘ship this year.”

Both teams swapped goals through the opening minutes of the initial session before Mount Ida secured a 5-2 lead after the first 15 minutes. The teams would enter the break tied at 7-7 before concluding the third quarter tied at 9-9.

Lasell will enter the upcoming NCAA Tournament riding a five-game winning streak, which dates back to a 13-4 win over Saint Joseph’s (Maine) last month.

New England College Wins Second-Straight NAC Men’s Lax Title

By Matt Noonan  (@MattNoonan11) 

For the second-straight season, the New England College men’s lacrosse team captured the Northeast Athletic Conference (NAC), defeating Castleton in tournament final this afternoon, 12-3.

New England’s Matt Richard led all scorers with five points on three goals and two assists, while Daniel Medvetz concluded the contest with a trio of assists one goal.

The Pilgrims, who led the Spartans 4-2 at the break, pushed ahead for good with a six-goal third quarter, which provided the hosts with a commanding 10-2 lead. Richard and Sean Largay would net New England’s final goals in the fourth quarter to secure the team’s second-straight conference crown.

Similar to last season, the Pilgrims secured an automatic bid to the upcoming NCAA Division III Tournament, which will commence next week. The pairings for this year’s tournament will be announced tomorrow evening at 9:00 p.m.

Mass. High School Lax Round-Up: Hopedale Secures First-Ever Postseason Berth

MASS LAX HS UPDATE NEW

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

Thursday was an exciting day for the Hopedale boy’s varsity lacrosse team, which qualified for the upcoming MIAA Tournament for the first-time in program history.

The Blue Raiders, who picked-up their 10th win of the season, defeated Valley Tech by a score of 20-4. The contest was highlighted by Nick Fayad, who netted seven goals, while dishing out three assists.

“This makes me very happy, but I’m happy for the team,” said Hopedale head coach Eric Moxim via the Metro West Daily News.

Hopedale’s lacrosse team began as a club team six years ago, but transformed into a varsity unit in 2014. And since their initial varsity contest against Worcester, the squad has shown great improvement under Moxim.

“We’re just happy for all the current players who have been working towards this goal,” said Tim Pizzarelli, who coaches alongside Moxim. “(Qualifying) for the tournament is huge for us.”

Hopedale’s 10 wins are the most the team has recorded in a single-season. Last year, the Blue Raiders won nine contests.

The Blue Raiders will be in-action three times next week, beginning with a Monday, May 8th match-up against North Central Charter followed by a Tuesday (May 9th) clash with Tantasqua.

Other News and Notes from the Worcester lacrosse scene: 

Game of the Week: Groton-Dunstable and Nipmuc Regional in Franklin, Massachusetts.

Nipmuc enters the contest with an impressive 8-0 ledger this season. Since their opening day victory over Grafton, a 9-8 double-overtime win, the Warriors have been unstoppable, tacking on seven additional wins, including an impressive 16-7 win over Pope Francis on Thursday.

Rick Arena‘s squad enters the contest with an impressive 11-1 ledger. Since falling to Shrewsbury last month in overtime, the Crusaders have bounced back, winning straight, including a 6-4 win over Littleton. Their last outing featured a 9-1 victory over St. Bernard. 

Massachusetts High School Lax Round-Up: Checking-In On The West

MASS LAX HS UPDATE NEW

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

Our Massachusetts High School Lacrosse Round-Up has returned – yes, we’re officially back for the remainder of the season, so make sure to circle back each week for various posts on the numerous teams, including our various social media round-ups, too.

For this week’s post, we’re shedding some light on Western Massachusetts teams, including Longmeadow, Mount Greylock and others! 

First, congratulations to Longmeadow’s Kristopher Campbell, who was tabbed last week’s Epoch/USL High School Boys’ Player of the Week following an impressive 11-point effort in his team’s 14-10 win over Amherst-Pelham.

Longmeadow, which is in-action today against Northampton (9-1), will visit Harvard Stadium on Saturday, May 6th to face-off against Lincoln-Sudbury.

Last season, the Warriors defeated the Lancers in Amherst by a score of 15-11. The game was followed by a New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) tilt between Amherst College and Colby College.

Following this season’s meeting, fans are encouraged to stick around and cheer on the Boston Cannons, who will play their home-opener against the Chesapeake Bayhawks. Face-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

Jeff Stripp and the Mount Greylock Mounties (10-0) captured their 10th contest on Monday, defeating Pittsfield by a score of 17-6. Reilly Parker and Pat Storie highlighted their team’s 10th win of the season by combining for 12 goals and four assists, while Owen Politis netted a hat-trick.

The Mounties return to the field on Saturday when they host Lee, which also defeated Pittsfield this week – Wednesday, to be exact – by a score of 20-9.

Hoosac Valley received a big-boots from Casey Meczywor on Wednesday as he netted seven goals, while dishing out a pair of assists in his team’s 13-4 win over Taconic. The win was the Hurricanes’ third of the season.

As noted in yesterday’s Berkshire Eagle, Hoosac Valley led 8-0 after the opening session and 9-0 by halftime.

Extra News and Notes from the West!

Games to Watch this Friday, May 5th & Saturday, May 6th: 

  • Westfield at Pope Francis (Friday, May 5th)
  • Chicopee Comp. at Wahconah (Friday, May 5th)
  • Lonmeadow vs. Lincoln-Sudbury (Saturday, May 6th | Harvard Stadium)
  • Minnechaug at Northampton (Saturday, May 6th)
  • Lee at Mount Greylock (Saturday, May 6th)
  • Hoosac Valley at Granby (Saturday, May 6th)